Obviously a great many positives can come from the Raiders wire to wire win over the Chiefs in Kansas City. Let's review some of those positives.
The Raiders received the ball to start the game and Carson Palmer threw an interception on the first play. But with that out of the way, the Raiders clamped down for a dominating performance.
The Chiefs would not make anything from the turnover. The defense stopped them for a three and out and the Raiders offense would get another shot. This time they drove for a score with the help of yet another long Denarius Moore catch-this time for 58 yards.
Another stop and Brady Quinn came back onto the field for a third shot at moving the ball against this suddenly stout Raiders defense. And on the first play, Rolando McClain came on a delayed blitz and sacked him hard.
The ball immediately came loose and the Chiefs recovered it. Then Quinn hit his head on the turf. He received a concussion although the Chiefs coaching staff weren't aware of it so he stayed out for one more play. On that play he put the ball up for grabs and an opportunistic Matt Giordano intercepted it.
The Raiders were able to get their second field goal with the help of the field position off of the interception. So in essence, that was a three point sack by McClain. It is a great example of the kinds of packages Jason Tarver is drawing up to keep the offense guessing and free up an extra pass rusher on any given play.
Quinn was replaced by Matt Cassel who himself had been out the week prior due to a concussion. The Raiders were able to sack him twice before the end of the first half and it contributed to their 13-6 lead at halftime.
The offense was also holding things down with Carson Palmer calling the shots. A perfect example of what has made Palmer so successful is demonstrated here.
His pocket presence and toughness to stay in the pocket as it has so often collapsed on him has been the key to the success of this offense. No play better illustrates that point than this 29-yard completion to Brandon Myers which as you can see he throws with the defender literally draped around him.
Many of Carson Palmer's passes in this offense are screens to either a running back or receiver. The 58-yard catch and run to Denarius Moore on the first drive was one such screen. But while Denarius was unable to take that reception for six points, Darrius Heyward-Bey is rarely caught in a race.
His hands have always been his primary criticism. But once the ball in his those hands, he can be one of the most lethal weapons in football.
Here, the play is set up to get Stanford Routt thinking long only to have DHB come back to get the ball. This allows him to have some space and if you give DHB space, he can make you pay just as he did here for a 32-yard touchdown. The score gave the Raiders a commanding 23-9 lead.
With that lead, the Raiders needed to protect it. The defense responded-namely linebacker Philip Wheeler who led the team in tackles and on a series to end the third quarter had every tackle in a three and out for the Chiefs.
As the fourth quarter ticked away and the Raiders extended their lead to 26-9, they put the Chiefs in desperation mode. The Chiefs already had the most turnovers in the NFL and the Raiders had added to that with three takeaways. They would add another late in the fourth quarter on what was the highlight play of the game.
Pat Lee has played well of late but while his fellow starters in the secondary had all made an interception this season, he had yet to join the party. He is officially invited now and saved the best interception of them all for last. And it sealed the victory for the Raiders.
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